The aftermath of a car accident is often complicated. If you were injured in such a crash in Houston, you need to consider fault and liability. Texas is a fault state. If the other driver was drunk, reckless, or negligent in any manner, which resulted in the accident, you could seek compensation for your losses. While nothing can reverse the wheel of time, financial compensation can help you ride through the difficult time. Regardless of the circumstances, it is wise to consult a Houston car accident attorney to know your claim better. Here are some quick aspects worth understanding. Click here to connect with them.
Why do people hire an attorney for car accident claims?
If you are already in financial distress, why would you want to hire an attorney? While it may sound easy on paper to file and win a car accident claim, the real world is different. Numerous factors determine what you can realistically expect in a settlement. For example, Texas follows the “modified comparative fault” rule. If you were more at fault than the other driver, you cannot recover anything, even when you are the one who endured serious losses. Also, your eventual settlement will be reduced by your fault percentage.
Working with an attorney can help you evaluate and understand the worth of your car accident claim. Your attorney will guide on things like –
- Expected settlement
- The possible impact of your fault
- The time needed to get a settlement
- If the matter can end up in trial
- Costs of the case
Hiring an attorney
If you have never hired an attorney for personal injury claims, make sure to check online for reviews. Most of the known firms in Houston have a website so that you can find all relevant details online. Also, you can ask questions like –
- How often do you take up car accident claims?
- Do you have the experience of representing clients at trial?
- Who will work on my case? Will I have access to my lawyer?
- What do you expect from my claim?
- What is your fee like?
Attorneys take car accident claims on a contingency fee. The lawyer can ask for a fee if you get a financial settlement. There could be other expenses related to the case, and in most circumstances, the lawyer would advance the same until the insurance company pays you.
Hire a lawyer right after the crash so that they can start collecting evidence to prove your claim.
Below are some key aspects worth knowing.
- Most lawyers offer a free initial consultation. The first meeting with a lawyer to discuss your accident claim doesn’t have to cost anything. Most law firms in Houston offer free case assessment, and you can get a fair overview of your case. If you agree to hire the lawyer, they will discuss other things in-depth, including expenses related to claim investigation.
- Lawyers don’t charge an upfront fee. Lawyers usually charge an hourly rate for cases involving criminal law and family matters. Personal injury and accident claims are different. Injury lawyers usually take a contingency fee. The lawyer will get a fee if you win a financial settlement. There is no upfront fee, which allows accident victims to use legal help without worrying about finances.
- Lawyers cannot guarantee an outcome. People often wrongly assume that a good and known attorney can get them a certain amount in a settlement. Things don’t work like that in the real world. In fact, if a lawyer promises an outcome for your accident claim, that is a clear red flag. However, you can expect the attorney to give an overview of the possible outcomes.
- It would be best if you had an attorney with trial experience. Most accident claims and lawsuits in Texas are settled outside of court. Nevertheless, some cases do end up in trial, and when that happens, you will need a lawyer with courtroom experience. You can ask the attorney as to how frequently they go to court for accident cases.
- Not all injury lawyers are the same. The scope of personal injury law is vast and encompasses varied types of cases, including medical malpractice and nursing home abuse. You need to find a lawyer who deals with accident claims regularly in their work. You can ask the lawyer about some of their best settlements and landmark cases to understand their profile and expertise.
Reporting the accident
Texas laws require involved drivers to report an auto accident if injury, death, and vehicle damage were involved. You are required to inform the accident to the local police or sheriff’s office. Vehicle damage refers to a situation where the car cannot be moved from the accident site safely. In short, you need to report an accident, no matter what.
Top reasons to hire an attorney
Most people seek help from an attorney in auto accident cases because they aren’t sure of how to move ahead. Insurance companies, with all their expertise and legal resources, will make an offer (if the claim is legit) that’s as low as possible, and probably expect the victim to accept the same. When you have an attorney by your side, you mean business, and the insurance company will know that. Secondly, you need an attorney when your claim has been denied, or when you are not sure if you are at fault. In Florida, if you are responsible for the accident to some extent, filing for compensation is not allowed.
Your attorney will help you understand things like:
- What your claim is worth.
- If you have a claim in the first place.
- If the case may end up in trial.
Also, all the paperwork and related aspects will be handled by your personal injury attorney, says Nolo. If the injury is likely to impact your lifestyle, work, and other aspects of life in the long run, your lawyer will take that into account while filing for a claim.
Choosing a car accident attorney
Finding the right car accident attorney for your case is important. Find a lawyer with experience in auto accident cases, and they should be okay with discussing their other cases, like the maximum compensation a client has received in such matters. Your best bet can be to go now to an attorney and ask if they have experience at trial, and if they can negotiate with the at fault driver’s insurance company and other parties involved. Your car accident attorney should be capable of talking to medical experts, witnesses, and anyone else, who may have an influence on the outcome of the case. You can ask for references, or check reviews of law firms in your area, to find a reliable one.
With a proficient car accident attorney, you can have genuine confidence in your claim. Make sure that the law firm works on a contingency basis, so that they take more interest in getting you the best compensation.